As I sat through study abroad orientations, I tended to tune out during the short section where insurance is mentioned. I rarely get sick and I have never broken a bone in my entire life. I like to think my body is pretty resilient; even when I am sick, I simply sleep it off and I am fine within the next two to three days. No meds needed. An even less of a problem for me is my dental health, but it just so happened that exactly three weeks left in my program, I needed a root canal. Continue reading
Before traveling abroad, it is important to set goals for what you want to accomplish in-country. One of my goals, as well as the reason why I want to study in Latin America, is to learn Spanish. Personally, I always set high goals for myself, because I believe even if I fall short of the grand goal I wanted to achieve, I will land pretty far along on the path in eventually achieving the goal. In Peru, my grand goal was to be fluent in Spanish. I recognize this is an absolutely ridiculous goal to have, but I believe that I am moving pretty far along on my journey.
My last journey through the diverse landscape of Peru was in a city called Iquitos. Iquitos is a city that is situated right on the intersection of the Amazon River and another smaller river leading up to the amazon. The streets of the city are filled with more motorbikes than cars; as they drive through the town, they ignore the lanes that are marked on the road. The humidity that hangs in the air is accompanied by warmth instead of the bone chilling coldness in Lima. We planned to spend the night in the city of Iquitos me and, the next day, to board a boat to arrive at our final destination, which was a resort on the edge of the jungle.
Walking down the streets of Cusco me and my friends were shocked to see rainbow flags flying everywhere. On every corner and in front of every business there was a flag flying, including in the main square at the center of town. We thought we finally had found the holy grail of LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
After the stressful weeks leading up to finals I received a long week off from school. During our break the ISA program that I am traveling with planned an excursion to the cities of Ica and Paracas. This excursion was only two days and one night long, we still had a whole week ahead of us with no classes and no activities. This was a perfect opportunity to extend our travel and explore more of Peru. A few of us planned to stay behind in Paracas to continue our journey. Continue reading
Study abroad is full of amazing moments and new adventures. Every week is a new experience and new growth. The highlight of my week was climbing two different mountains in the Andes Mountain range and seeing a glacier. Continue reading
In this blog post, I am specifically writing to my minority readers.
As you begin to settle into the routine of life abroad, you begin to look around. You become aware of the people around you. The realization that there is no one around that looks like you hits you. For me, this means every single room I walk into, I am the darkest person with the coarsest hair. I immediately stand out. Continue reading
To be completely honest, before coming to Peru, I did not know the Panamerican games existed. I don’t think I would have even known what the Panamericans were if they were not hosted in Peru this year. All around the streets of Jesus Maria, I would see banners with the hashtag #jugamostodos and have no idea what the sign meant. Our program coordinator finally explained what the games were, and every meeting she would mention the games and how cheap the tickets were. Continue reading
The Native American population is arguably one of the most underrepresented populations in the United States. In the US 2% of the population is Native American compared to Peru’s 25.7% indigenous population. While there is a significant difference in the amount of indigenous people in the US, there are also significant differences in how both Peru and the United States treat their indigenous community. Continue reading
To be completely honest, being a vegetarian in a Latin American country is not ideal. While in North America we have a huge vegan and vegetarian movement, the movement has not quite picked up the same momentum in South America. While it is a struggle, it is definitely not impossible. Continue reading
The typical study abroad student posts beautiful pictures on Instagram of the beach. On their snapchat story they include the geo-tag of the cool location they are visiting that weekend. Friends comment “live your best life”, hyping up each and every picture vicariously living through their experience.This all contributes to the perception that studying abroad is a semester long vacation. As much as I wish I could write about life changing trips to the beach sipping margaritas on a Tuesday afternoon, I can’t. Continue reading
My decision to study abroad was mainly influenced by my desire to learn a language. The reason that I have only studied abroad in Latin American/Spanish speaking countries is because I believe in order to have a truly authentic experience one must know the language or have an idea of the language, but that is a topic for another blog post. My strong feelings about language learning pushed me to have a learning experience outside the classroom. I felt in the US learning a language was such a sterile process. Continue reading
“It was about my fifth time I was rereading my host mom’s name, “Carmen”. I had waited weeks and weeks for the information about my host family to arrive. I quickly called my mom to tell her about the family. The months leading up to the trip I was eager to tell everyone I was going to Costa Rica but, in this moment it all became real. I was going to be traveling to another country by myself. I had limited information about what I was going to be doing once I got there, and I had very limited knowledge about Costa Rica. There have been a few times this week, where I could not even talk about leaving home without crying. I honestly have no idea what I am doing and who I am going to be with.“ Continue reading
While abroad, I have stayed in contact with a few of my friend back at home. Coincidentally, one of my two friends I have kept up with is studying abroad this summer in Europe. When messaging in our group chat I jokingly asked my other friend, “When are you going to study abroad?” This joke quickly turned into a small debate we always have. She wonders why I would want to leave Michigan and accumulate debt, when I could simply stay at home in order to work to save up money to pay for college. I think the easiest way to justify my choice is to explain the importance of experiential learning. Continue reading
Part of the ISA program includes going on two excursions; the first being to a beautiful national park called Manuel Antonio. This national park has two beautiful beaches but, in order to get to the beaches, you must walk through a lush rainforest. Monkeys can be heard in the distance, little crabs dig holes in the dirt, and sloths hang in the trees. The second excursion is the Arenal Volcano. We did not visit the volcano, but the volcano could be seen in the distance. We stayed in a secluded resort 15 minutes from the nearest town. These two excursions were equally beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay during both weekend trips. While on these trips, I began to think about tourism. Continue reading